South African consumers may have been staying out of malls since the Covid-19 pandemic struck, but their appetite for online shopping is booming.
Digital payments fintech, Ozow, says it processed in excess of R1bn in transactions in a month, for the first time in November 2020. This is thanks to a Black Friday surge where the single biggest transaction was more than R500,000 on a popular ecommerce site.
After being founded in 2014, it took the company two years and nine months to process its first R1bn. Since then, the growth has been exponential, says Ozow’s CEO and co-founder, Thomas Pays.
“It’s astounding to see how popular instant payment solutions have become. A growing number of South Africans are using instant payments because of its sheer ease of use and security. Digital payments have also help drive financial inclusion by opening up the online shopping universe to people who don’t have debit or credit cards,” explains Pays.
The boom underlines South Africa’s leadership in the digital payments space on the African continent, with triple-digit growth in the last 12 months. Many millions of consumers have already used Ozow, which has the vast majority of ecommerce leaders like Takealot and Superbalist as registered merchant business users in South Africa.
Ozow was started as i-Pay at the end of 2014 by Pays, Mitchan Adams and Lyle Eckstein, with the audacious goal of reinventing the digital economy market in Africa.
Pays attributes part of Ozow’s growth to the broader audience it is appealing to. “When we enable people who do not have debit or credit cards to pay online, we draw people into the mainstream economy,” adds Pays. “This isn’t just changing the commerce landscape. It’s changing people’s lives and we are so grateful to be part of this financial revolution”.